Matthew Franck On How The Culture is Failing Young People On Marriage


In this article adapted from remarks he recently gave before the Love & Fidelity Network, Prof. Franck talks about how we are failing to transmit healthy marital and sexual norms to the next generation (we focus on the marital norms):

In these dystopian societies [described by Plato and Huxley], everything about human sexuality, the complementarity of men and women, and the generation of offspring is broken to the yoke of the city, and made subservient to a single-minded politics of regimentation and control of human choice. And it all happens because a single political principle is pushed without limit until human nature itself is mowed down in its path.

Consider the messages that young people get today, from the colleges they attend, the media culture they swim about in, and even from the laws of the land and the words and deeds of high public officials. Here are fifteen such messages:

3. Everyone is entitled to marry the person he loves (at this particular moment). Coming soon—marriage to the multiple persons one loves!

4. There is no significant difference between men and women with respect to any sexual matter. “Gender” and “identity” are “social constructs,” which we can accept or reject at will.

5. The differentiation of male and female roles is a species of oppression. (Even if you choose the role? What happened to the freedom to choose your identity? Never mind, don’t ask such questions!)

9. Cohabitation before marriage is downright expected, and is a healthy trial run of a relationship.

10. Marriage is optional and certainly not permanent, nor need it be characterized by sexual exclusivity. “Until a loss of interest do us part.” Why should it be work?

11. Out-of-wedlock childbearing is normal and has no adverse consequences, anyway not for you.

13. “A family” is whatever we say one is. Who are you to say different?

14. Where children are wanted and nature does not supply, science can make up the deficit at no moral or social cost (albeit considerable financial expense) by sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, etc.

15. Any child can have mommies and/or daddies in any number and combination, by blood, marriage, or adoption. There is no harm in any of these possibilities, for children are blank slates, fully adaptable to all adult choices.

Every one of these fifteen messages is a lie. No lie sustaining the preposterous political orders in Plato and Huxley is worse than any of these, and some are in fact exactly the same—about the sameness of the sexes, the dispensability of marriage, the malleability of children, and so on.